First round results for Hasbro's "Power of the Primes" Transformers fan vote are in, narrowing down the next keeper of the Matrix of Leadership to four candidates: The Japanese one, the obvious one, Monkey Joe and Unknown (though secretly Deathsaurus) Evil. If only they held debates.
Following the popular but re-painty Combiner Wars and the flimsy-headed Titans Return lines of nostalgia-fuelled Transformers Generation toys, Power of the Primes is the third leg in what's collectively known as the Prime Trilogy. The fan vote is playing a big part in shaping how the backstory of that line will play out, as whichever bot wins will take possession of the Matrix of Leadership ("Lighting our darkest hour since 1986") and become leader of Cybertron.
The first round of voting saw fans choosing a leader for each of three factions — Honor, Chaos and Order. Honor wants to carry on the work of Optimus Prime, peacefully (like that ever works) working until all are one. Order wants to do away with the whole Autobot and Decepticon thing, uniting Cybertron as Cybertronians. Chaos candidates are warlords and tyrants, looking to seize power.
I was sure the voting would go like this:
- Honour: Arcee
- Chaos: Optimus Primal
- Order: Megatron
At least I got one out of three. Here are the four candidates, one of which is a "wildcard" selection, meaning Hasbro really likes that one and wants us to reconsider.
Representing Order, Ultra Magnus beat out Arcee and Hound for top billing. I think fans voted for him because they felt bad about him carrying about the Matrix after Optimus died in the 1986 movie, only to have to hand it over to the young upstart (Hot Rod/Rodimus Prime) who got Optimus killed in the first place.
I'm not sure of his status in the toy line, but in the comics he's a corpse being driven about by a tiny robot in his head. Or something.
Beast Wars fans unite! According to the description on the voting website, this Optimus Primal is the king of the beast planet Eukaris, and he heralds the coming of a new ages of beasts.
He's kind of a silly choice, except for those of us who love the Beast Wars era so much it hurts. In my heart he has already won.
He's the Japanese one! Star Saber made his debut in the Super-God Masterforce cartoon, one of the follow-ups to our first generation series that only aired in Japan (though you can get it on DVD these days). We haven't really had a toy of Star Saber in the West, unless you count the Energon-era Minicon team that transforms into a sword, which I do not.
It would be nifty to see him make his Western debut, though the toy store folks might accidentally stock him with the Power Rangers Megazords.
Unknown Evil, But Really Deathsaurus
We don't know who this is, but it's the Decepticon Emperor of Destruction, Deathsaurus. Another character who debuted in Super-God Masterforce, which makes it sound like we're going to finally get a lot of former Japanese-exclusive characters in the Power of the Primes series, and that's just prime.
He's neat and he's the wildcard, suggesting Hasbro really wants us to vote for him.
Now fans must choose between these four when voting reopens on February 1, with the winner reveal happening at Toy Fair 2016 a few weeks later. I'll be at the show, sitting in the audience at the Hasbro presentation, crying my eyes out for Optimus Primal.